Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 12:44 PM on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homer Prevention Project to survey alcohol use in Homer

Beginning Monday, the Homer Prevention Project will conduct a telephone survey in the Homer zip code to measure rates and perceptions of alcohol use in the community. The survey is one component of HPP's first step to reduce underage drinking and adult binge drinking in Homer.

"Underage drinking and adult binge drinking are problems throughout Alaska, and Homer is one of six communities to receive a three-year grant from the state of Alaska to begin addressing these issues on a community level," said Esther Hammerschlag, HPP director, in a press release announcing the survey. "The grant, called the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG), is intended to support community wide coalitions in creating change from within the community. To create these environmental changes, the project will enlist the help of many local people and organizations with an interest in reducing alcohol use."

Communities sometimes create prevention programs before gathering the necessary information to support the effort. This can lead to ineffective or unsustainable programs. The process being followed by HPP requires collection of a wide range of data to first document the extent of the problem and identify causes and consequences. That information is used to develop effective strategies to prevent the problem from occurring.

Substance abuse was identified as a top health issue for Homer during a community wide health assessment conducted in Homer in 2008-2009. HPP must now gather more detailed information specific to underage drinking and adult binge drinking.

The telephone survey will ask questions about personal alcohol use, consequences of alcohol use, and perceptions of the problem in the community. All survey answers will remain anonymous.

The survey will be conducted by The Goldstream Group, which has been contracted by HPP. A total of 361 households will be surveyed. The information collected from the survey and other sources will help identify and prioritize primary causes and consequences of underage drinking and adult binge drinking in the community. The information also will be used to determine Homer's readiness and ability to address these issues and the next steps towards preventing these problems.

To know more about HPP or to participate as part of the project's advisory workgroup, contact Hammerschlag at 235-0570, or HomerSPFSIG@gmail.com.